Sunday, 21 March 2010

Phonsavanh onward

What a wierd place- a town in the middle of nowhere with a few guest houses and not much else. Phonsavanh is home to UXO (un-exploded ordinance) aplenty and jars. Yep JARS. No the normal flower holding variety. Nope, huge ancient jars, with an unknown purpose.
Lets start with the bombs, during the Vietnam war the Americans in all, their stupidity decided to follow the Viet Kong on their trails out of nam and into Laos. So the Americans bombed Laos too. Unnofficially of course. So what this left was a trail of destruction at the time and a trail of possible destruction to this day. The UXO in Laos in the Phonasavanh area is pretty mextream. They have managed to clear a certain amount out of the 'touristy' area- cus we're sooo important using metal detectors and then visually cleared the areas around the tourist routes. The locals have used UXO's and their aluminium to make cooking utensils, ordaments and also in their entirety to decorate their homes. Entering Phonsavanh there are hotels and guest housed with bombs as decoration at their doors.
The reason we visited Phonsavanh was for the jars. These jars are believed to be 2000 years + and there is debate about their original usage. Phonsavanh like I said is a small town surrounded by paddy fields and Lao-Lao whisky villages. There is not much else here apart from approx 60 sites worth of jars. They range from 1metre to approx 3 metres tall, they are thick and were calved from the mountains about 30km away from the current town.
So this is the tourist attraction and there is not much else to do but it was well worth it.
Back to the UXO, when walking around the site there were markers which were square and painted half red and half white. White means safe and cleared by a metal detector and red means site cleared only. Basically the advise was stay on the track! We also visited a cave where the people hid during the secret war and a Lao- Lao whisky making house where they ferment the sticky rice and turn it in to EVIL alcohol. mmmmm. Approx 45% buit god knows how bad it really is this unrestricted stuff. Had that taste of a bad night straight after you'd downed it.
there are pics pending but this tinterweb connection is too god dam slow
toodle pip. P.s Off to Nam tomorrow- visa's cost $50 each theiving bastards. Nam better be good.

Monday, 15 March 2010


So this place has proven to have extream opposites. We started in Vientaine whihc is a basic town, but a capital city, with basic everything and quite a nice change after the chaos of other Asian capital cities. We moved on to Vang Vieng which was a backpacker hell hole selling buckets of rice wine/ whiskey for pennies and joints as long as a you hid round the corner to smoke them- not obvious honest. After a day of tubing which was good fun we headed to Luang Prabang which was promised to be a ancient city and previous capital city, 'one of the most photogenic cities in asia' was one quote. It's quite pretty, full of early 20th century french buildings and a 14 th c Wat which was quite spectacular. What was off putting was the package holiday feel to the place. It was full of aging Europeans, 60's+ lots in wheel chairs, which isn't a good bet in Laos. So with nothing against oldies it has turned the place into a tourist trap whith sky high prices and proper resturants and bars. Now don't get me wrong this country needs money and who better to get it from than 'rich' tourists? However the money is going to the rich, who are getting richer and the poorer are getting the blunt end of the stich. There are real polar differences from people living in mansions (the few) to village after village full of shacks.
Suffice to say we left sharpish and we are now in Phonsavan and we are going to the 'plain of Jars' will tell you about that later. However, Phonsavan is much more 'authentic' and not nearly as touristy thank god.
Toodle pip. Off on trip now.

Friday, 12 March 2010


What a fun, if not slow way to spend a day.
Step 1: Go get a tractor inner-tune.
2: Get the Tuk-Tuk a couple of Km up the road.
3: Get in water and slowly drift away.
Optional Steps:
4: Stop at as many bars as you fancy- they will tow you in.
5: Let the local kids bring you to shore- it'll cost you 10p.

Warning:- not all rocks are rocks, some are cows cooling down in the water.
watch out for locals with spears, they're really only after the fish but you never know.
avoid the random peops swinging on wires, they'll hurt if they land on you.

6hr bus drive tomorrow- we have chickened out and got a seat on a TOURIST aggghhhh bus cus our bums still hurt from before.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Laos, is that in Singapore? and comfortable bushes

So we're in Laos at the moment. Flew in on Tuesday morning, left Malaysia at 7am, got to Vientiane at bout 10am. Good flight for 30 squids.
Landing at the air port (tiny and V. basic) we knew that we had to buy a visa in $ to get us in. $35 actually scanks. Reading the document we had to fill in it states 'Our country, Our Tax', Nicely put and fair doos.
So after Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur I expected a city with traffic, noise, Koh San area all the general workings. Vientiane, what a difference. It's about the size of GY, its mainly low rise, the tallest buildings are the temples, yes it's really dirty from the dust clouds but there isn't huge piles of traffic. All together a nice surprise.
So Vientiane is a quiet city and a couple of nights in a spotless B+B for 7 quid sufficed, So we decided to move on to Vang Vieng.
Now, there were a couple of ways to do this lengthy trip, either VIP bus of local. We chose Local. What fun, no not sarcastic it really was good fun.
Everyone piled on and threw in their belongings, baggage, a stalls worth of fruit and a mattress or two and off we set. No saying Vientiane was quiet, the roads were jammed to get out. Then all the locals were rushing to the front of out bus and properly rubber necking. MMMM.... what is going on.
Turns out there has been a crash between a ped and a lorry. So the police dont block the road, they just let you drive straight though. Lets just say there was blood and some bits of body which were indistinguishable all over the road. Me thinks he was a gonner.

Driving slowly on out of the traffic we found village after village which consisted of wooden huts raised off the ground on stilts. The living conditions were quite an eyeopener. There were also towns full of hanging smoked fish and rice for sale lining the streets.
At one point we stopped for a 'comfort brake' yep we stopped at the side of the road at a bushy area. We sat there and thought 'whats happening?' , 'toilet break' was the reply. No Shit- well maybe there was............

So we are in Vang Vieng, the Koh San of Laos. Full of knob heads and we think we will be moving on pretty soon, just got to sample to local speciallity of tubing down the river.
See you soon.

Oh, nearly forgot, best quote from an unnamed mother-in-law:

"Laos, is that in Singapore?" ?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Sunday, 7 March 2010


So we have been here for our allotted two weeks now. Doesn't seem that much. What have we found? A country of contrasts.

We ahve started and ended our travels here in KL. Which is a busy city but not on the scale of Singapore or Bangkok. Its a pretty cool place but doesn't seem to have a definate centre - with a little India, china town, colonial district and the Golden Triangel which is the business centre.

It is clean, dirty, smelly and in places quite an eye opener. The China town area reminds me of Turkey with tonnes of 'genuine' fakes and as muck gucci and luis vuitton as you can take. It isn't like other china towns that we have been to. Little India is full of Sari's and head scalves and not as much tat.

The rest of KL follows tis pattern and whist there are some different things to see, like most places it's pretty repetative. Worthcomming though.

Next was Malacca, Mallaca, Malaka however you like to spell it. This place was excellent and full of history from portugese buildings from the 14th century to danisha nd then British Colonial buildings. The Cina town here was really good with the oldest Chinese Temple in the country. Whilst really touristy at the weekend it was quite layed back in the week and good fun. We then went up the coast to Penang, promising to be the Phuket of Malaysia. We stayed in George Town which again had a china town and a little India- all good for the food. This time we went to a Chinese clan House which was brilliant- will post pics on FB and also a Buddhist temple- chinese- Which is the oldest and biggest in Malaysia. The temple was up on a hill and has a pagoda which was 30 metres high and also a bronze statue further up the hill, had to go up on a venicular lift, which was even taller.

After George town we took a min bus at 5am to the east coast. Now this was ment to be a 5hr drive to I thought yippie some sleep. When we got on the bus it was quite posh with leather seats etc and only three of us on it. Excellent- sleep. NO how wrong could I be, we put our lives in our hand here. The bus driver was a complete lunatic. He drove the moterways at bout 90mph which I can handle but the back roads were worse. It was so fast and bumpy that my stomach hurt so I lay down (partly so I couldn't see that I was on the wrong side of the road going around corners) and hit my head repetatively on the seat. The drive as I said was ment to be 5 hrs it took 3 and a half.

The drive wasn't in vain though, it took us to Kuala Besut where we caught a stomach thumping speed oat ride to paradise.

We went to the perhentian islands on off the east coat. Even though we had been to malacca and penang there were no nice beaches. Here there were hundreds of white sandy beaches backed with tropical rain forests. Heaven.

The resorts have only opened for the season about a week ago so it was really quiet with only a few huts open on the beach. The only downside was it was a backpacker haven so the food was all westenised, boooooo.

Anyway a bumpy boat ride back and an 8 hr bus ride back to KL and our time in Malaysia has come to an end. The is so much stuff that we have missed that I think I'll have to come back. Anyone fancy a holiday sometime???

Laos next.

See ya.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Land of Tesco's

So this wasn't ment to be my first thought for the blog, but there are Tesco's everywhere!
So we're back in Asia now. Started in Singapore which is an amazing city, it is clean, sparkly and has loads of fancy buildings, some colonial and some chinese. Singapore seems to be mainly a chinese city/state with the Chinese making up around 70%of the population. We stayed outside the centre, so our area wasn't so sparkly but was good fun. Whilst there we were proper tourists. We went on an open bus ride, up on the Singapore flyer (which aT 165M beats the London eye by 30m) and also on a boat ride. Singapore has shops galore- more than i think i have seen anywhere else.
Also it is ment to be the food capital of the area. Unfortunatly I think that I made some bad choices as my food wasn't that good. They have a thing for frogs, frog porridge, frog porridge with chilli, ginger frog porridge etc. I didn'[t have frog!
So I thought I'd have an icecream safe bet. NO what i thought was vanilla was DURIAN. AGGHHHHHHHHHH wondered why the ice cream man had a smirk.

We are now in Malaysia. Whata diference to Singapore. THis country is a muslim country and has a totally different vibe. There are a lot more indians here and also a lot of Eurasians due to the portugese infulence in the 15th centurary. This means that the arcitecture is really varied with ancient chinese temples next to HIndu temples turned into mosques. Again really impressive.
Have found the food here to be excellent- really good curries and noodles for breaky.
will up date soon promise.
woo hoo out of OZ

Friday, 12 February 2010

Forgotten Children

So after that rant I'll start another one.

When we got here the Australian PM was appologising to the forgotten children of Australia.

Turns out our stupid government and the Ozzies stupid government thought it was a good idea to sent orphans and children from 'deprived' backgrounds to Australia to add to the population and also to gain a better outlook in life.

Turns out that this didn't happen and the children were used as slaves on farms and given the most basic of educations- most of them leaving school under the banner of retarded when they were doing perfectly well at home. To make this even worse the children's parents were sold this better life story and even told they could get their children back if they liked (this wasn't the case). This happened from the 30's till the late 60's. Even though some of these establishments were condemmed by the British government they still let children go out there.

If your interested there is a pretty good book about it all called 'The Forgotten Children' which is a good read but also really eye opening.
Anyway less of the rants- What have we been upto?
We have travelled from the rock back to Adelaide on the worst flight ever. Don't know why it was horrid but after 26ish years of flying, on my birthday, I decide that this is a horrid flight and get sweaty palms and inwardly panic all the way though it.
Like I said it was my birthday and all I wanted to do after the horrid flight was to get a bottle of vino and drink it- shouldn't be hard.
So couldn't find an offy anywhere and so went for an extortionate priced pint. Wasn't happy. Took Ben till midday to realise it was my B-day. Anyway on leaving the pub in a foul mood we went back towards the hostel crossing a road- WITH NO CARS ON IT.
A car pulls up infront of us a coulple of mins later and says, "what do red lights mean to you?" so I say "red light district" not realsing that it was a copper in an unmarked car. Stupid me, he proceeded to give us a bolloking for crossing the road with out the red light and then he went. ARSE.
Since then we have flown, quite happily may I add, to the Gold Coast (of corrupt coppers) and then caught the Greyhound bus up north. Been To Brisbane, Noosa (which is a lagoony place and quite beautiful) Rockhampton, through loads of floods, Airlie beach where we went out to the Great Barrier reef and went sailing around the Whitsundays, Townsville and we are now in Cairns.
The weather has been erratic and varied from blasing to torrential flooding. When we went to the Barrier Reef it was raining on land but when we went the 100km to the reef it was gorgeous sunshine. On the Greyhound bus one evening we couldn't see the road as there was approx 1m deep flood water and all you could see was trees and water all around.
So we're in Cairns till the 18th and then we move on north to Singapore and into South East Asia. Yippie.
Toodle Pip.